First of all, I know you are joining me in prayer for all those who are victims of Hurricane Harvey and all the destructive flooding in the greater Houston area. I know, too, that you want to be a part of helping. An email went out earlier outlining specific ways to help. In case you missed it, click here for the latest information on ways you can be a part of helping.
This Sunday we’ll wrap up our “Tales of the Sea” worship series with a miracle that is perhaps the greatest of miracles — that of a restored life made whole by amazing grace. We don’t know where this took place, but centuries ago Christians chose a flat rock on the shore of the Sea of Galilee not far from the town of Capernaum. At that spot they built a small church — a chapel really — and the rock is the communion table for the church.
According to tradition it was on that rock, following Jesus’ death and resurrection, that the Risen Christ built a charcoal fire and cooked breakfast. Simon Peter was wracked with guilt. As he warmed himself by a charcoal fire in the courtyard of the High Priest, he had denied even knowing Jesus. It was a horrible memory. Simon Peter had sworn that he would never deny Jesus, but Jesus had said that he would deny him not once, but three times before the rooster crowed. It had happened just as Jesus said.
That rock on the shore of the lake is a sacred space because Christ went to great lengths to make the setting just right: a charcoal fire (this kind of fire is mentioned only twice in the New Testament — when Peter denied Jesus and here on the lakeshore), roosters crowing as the sun is beginning to rise, and the opportunity to say three times that he loved Christ.
As Simon Peter labored under his heavy burden of guilt, the Risen Christ came to him in just the way he needed, offering forgiveness and a new beginning.
If you’ve ever labored under a burden of guilt — either because of something you did, didn’t do, or didn’t mean to do — you may be familiar with that crushing feeling that you’ve ruined everything. The Good News that we celebrate Sunday after Sunday is that God’s grace is more than enough to provide forgiveness and a new beginning in just the way you need.
What guilt are you carrying with you? Are you yearning for forgiveness and restoration? I look forward to exploring these turning point ideas with you this Sunday in our Sanctuary Worship.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,
Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanaelfrom Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.